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These engravings are from the work entitled, The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, engraven by Mr. Houbraken, and Mr. Vertue, London: for John and Paul Knapton, by Thomas Birch. Thomas Birch’s work consisted of 108 engravings which were produced in two volumes. Volume one published in 1747 and volume two published in 1752. These finely engraved portraits of British luminaries from the 14th to 18th centuries; included are literary icons such as Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, John Dryden and Alexander Pope; royal personages including Henry VIII and various of his queens, men of science and philosophy, among them Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, William Harvey and Robert Boyle; adventurers Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh; and politicians and nobility too numerous to count. Each engraving was professionally hand colored and is on fine laid paper that measures ~11″ by 17″.
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